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What is Melasma?

If you have grey or brown patches on your skin then you might be suffering from Melasma. In most cases, these patches develop on the face, either on cheeks, upper lips, chin or forehead. In some instances, they can also appear on some other parts of the body that are exposed to the sun a bit too much.

Melasma is not something that is serious but it can have a negative impact on how you look. Thankfully Melasma can now be treated.

Melasma Causes

In most cases, it is the women, who suffer from Melasma. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, only 10% of all men get Melasma. People with naturally dark colored skin or those who have a blood relative suffering from the condition have more chances of getting it.

It is however not very clear what causes Melasma to appear. We all have cells in our skins that create color. Melasma develops when those cells start to generate more color than normal.

There are however some common factors that are thought to trigger Melasma. At the top of that list is exposure to sun because its ultraviolet rays stimulate the color making cells in the skin, also known as melanocytes. This is one of the biggest reasons why people get Melasma during the summers.

Melasma can also trigger due to hormonal changes. This is why quite a few women get it during pregnancy. Then there are cosmetics. Different skin care products are thought to trigger Melasma as well. If you are using a skincare product that causes irritation, then that can trigger Melasma or if you already have it, make the condition worse.

Diagnose and Treatment

Whether you have Melasma or not can only be confirmed by a dermatologist. If it is too obvious, then your doctor will know it is Melasma just by looking at your skin. To see how deep it has gone, the dermatologist might just study your skin under Wood’s light, a device used for this purpose. If your doctor is not sure whether you have Melasma or not, he or she might take a little part of the skin and do a quick biopsy right there and then to see whether you actually have Melasma or not.

In quite a few cases, Melasma disappears on its own. If it doesn’t then there are different procedures to sort out the issue like use of hydroquinone, tretinoin and corticosteroids and medicines that can be applied to the skin.  

If none of these work, then you might have to undergo a simple procedure to do away with it. Chemical peel, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are techniques that might be used to remove Melasma. Of course the best way forward has to be decided by your dermatologist. Please make sure that you consult a good doctor who knows what he is doing because failure to do so may result in some other skin related issues.

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